How it Works

Why Use Horses?
Those familiar with horses have long recognized and understood their power and influence on people. Horses are large and powerful, which creates a natural opportunity to overcome fear and develop confidence while working with them, and provides metaphors to use when dealing with other intimidating and challenging situations in life.

Horses are excellent at reading our body language, and will respond to it honestly, which makes them powerful messengers. They are able to read and mirror body language. This creates a situation that requires us as humans to rethink our approach with them and try to communicate in a different manner.

"Horses are one of the world's best-kept secrets. We come to them tired, discouraged, ill, and confused; they send us home refreshed, renewed, and full of life and hope for tomorrow. By just being themselves, they can bring an emotional and mental healing that other forms of therapy cannot." Resa Nilson, BS, Animal Science, Univ. of Vermont, Executive Director of ChAMP, South Hero, VT Certified NARHA instructor.

"Horses are not concerned with the niceties of human convention -- they don't worry about hurting your feelings, or lie awake at night pondering just the right way to break the hard truth . . . The skills of communication are the same, whether you are relating to person or equine . . . Horses will not hesitate to challenge us if what we're doing is not clear to them." Discover Your Inner Equine, by April Clay, Horse Illustrated, April 2004

What is EAAS?
Equine-Assisted Addiction Services (EAAS) is an emerging field in which horses are used as a tool for emotional growth and learning. It is a collaborative effort between a Licensed Alcohol & Drug Counselor (LADC) and an equine specialist who work together to design sessions that require the client to apply certain skills. The process is intense, but effective, and compliments other treatment options.

This powerful, therapeutic approach to substance abuse has a great impact on youth, families and groups. It also addresses problems associated with communication, relationships, and behavior.

When using EAAS clients learn about themselves and others by participating in activities with the horse, a dynamic and powerful living being, using skills such as non-verbal communication, creative thinking, and problem solving. Using metaphors learned during EAAS in discussion or activity is an effective technique when working with even the most challenging individuals or groups. We only grow when we are uncomfortable.

Some of the Equine activities we use include:
• Temptation Alley Obstacle Course
• Life's Little Obstacles
• Another of Life's Little Obstacles
• Equine Billiards
• Keep Away
• Extending Appendages
• Ground Tying
• Picking up Hoof

 

 

Who is EAAS For?

• Children
• Teenagers
• Adults
• Families
• Groups

To Learn and Improve Upon:

Relapse Prevention and Education - Horses are one of the World's best-kept secrets. We come to them tired, discouraged, ill, and confused. They send us home refreshed, renewed, and full of life and hope for tomorrow. By just being themselves, they can bring an emotional and mental healing that other forms of therapy cannot.

Behavioral Modification - Horses don't judge or discriminate, but experience emotions simply as information which creates an environment of acceptance and empowerment as a person works through various issues, i.e., anger management, uncertainty, passivity, etc.

Creative Thinking - Being with a horse helps clients sharpen their present awareness while the reaction of the horse to what the client presents helps to cultivate self-awareness.

Assertiveness - Working as a partner with the horse allows the therapist a chance to role-model safe, respectful, yet firm and consistent limit-setting.

Relationship Building - Addicts must deal with raw emotions and be honest with themselves; horses take this one step further by enabling the addict to be honest in relationships as well.

Self-Esteem - Observing an animal's interactions with humans can reveal many internal issues that otherwise would go unnoticed.

Problem Solving - Helps develop skills applicable to real-life problems to better understand their daily lives and cope with difficulties.

Leadership - Participants learn about themselves and others by participating in activities with the horse, a dynamic and powerful living being, using skills to bring the client to self-acceptance and honoring the true self. Horses validate the true self, promoting exploration of feelings and behaviors.

Teamwork - Because the horse "mirrors" body language and feelings back to a client instead of the client being reflected through a therapist, they see and experience themselves through the reactions of a thousand pound being. The size of this mirror makes it a powerful reflection, which creates a situation that requires us as humans to rethink our approach and try to communicate in a different manner.

Positive Attitude - Horses provide unconditional positive regard. They are unencumbered by ego issues and do not care if you are small for your age, have crooked teeth, have no friends, have messy hair, or failed your spelling test.

Non-Verbal Communication - Observing an animal's interactions with humans can reveal many internal issues that otherwise would go unnoticed. The horse offers immediate, unbiased, non-verbal feedback and does so in a big way

 

Jesus said to her, "Did I not say to you that if you believe, you will see the glory of God?"
John 11:40
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